Two items on astrology:

1 Astrology And The Art Of Writing.
2 Response by Michael O'Leary of the Astronomical Society of SA.


Peg Radcliffe

(Vice President of the Federation of  Australian Astrologers,
Sunshine Coast Branch)

(Investigator 8, 1989 September)

What makes a writer? Obviously there must be a need for creative self expression. And what factors contribute to the enormous variety of topics chosen by writers? What distinguishes a flamboyant fiction writer from a reflective, philosophical essayist; or a poet from a journalist?

Some of the answers can be found in the Natal Chart. Most people are familiar with their Sun sign. But unless they have had their Natal Chart erected by an astrologer, they would be unaware of their Ascendant, or the position of the Moon. There are also 8 other planets to be considered, plus the relationships or aspects between them.

Most experts agree that a strongly placed Mercury is essential. Mercury rules the signs of Gemini and Virgo, and is associated with all facets of communication. Mercury's position and relative strength can provide valuable clues with regard to writing potential.

These guidelines can also be applied to the Moon (which rules Cancer). The lunar temperament is sensitive, imaginative and impressionable. A prominent Moon is common in the Natal Charts of writers. When both Mercury and the Moon are emphasized, it can indicate a link between the subconscious inspirations, and the ability to bring them to the surface and express them with clarity.

The following observations are mainly based on Sun signs of well known writers.

Personal achievement is a priority for energetic ARIES. Since they are more action-oriented than contemplative, it was not easy to find examples of Arian authors.

One local exception is shown in Chart 1.

[Note:  Chart 1 and Chart 2 are omitted in this reprint but the explanations of the charts are retained.]

Andrew Fitzherbert, with 2 books to his credit, has just collaborated with Nathaniel Altman on a third which is about to be published.


Australia's foremost Palmist, Brisbane-based Andrew Fitzherbert. The Scorpio Ascendant shows his lifelong dedication to the study of "Hand Psychology" (the title of one of his books). The Moon and Mercury, both associated with writing, are placed in the perceptive sign of Pisces. Their position aptly describes the subject of his second book, which deals with the development of psychic abilities.
Conscientious Saturn is prominent, close to the Midheaven (professional status) in the sign of Virgo the Perfectionist. Saturn requires patience, and although it is in the 9th house of publishing, Andrew had to endure many setbacks and delays before his best selling books were ultimately published. Andrew insists that his wife Gale (a Capricorn) who conducted the negotiations with the publishers, deserves full credit for her unlimited perseverance.

Feminine activist Gloria Steinem, dubbed the 'glamour girl' of the Women's Movement, launched MS magazine in 1972. She fits the Arian picture of a crusading pioneer. Although Aries is a creative sign, it seems to be more prominent in the charts of artists than writers. Nevertheless, one outstanding record of personal achievement (?) is Casanova's 12 volumes of memoirs.

TAURUS is a 'down to earth' sign, and their innate business acumen may bring financial rewards from their writing. Dr Benjamin Spock had his Moon in Cancer, which prompted him to write his remarkable 'Baby and Child Care'. But I suspect that his Sun in Taurus helped him to sell 28 million copies! Usually Taurus tackles practical subjects and their books may be of a helpful, instructional nature. But they also love the Arts and Music. Many Taureans enter show business. Gifted with a robust 'earthy' sense of humour, they may apply this to their writings. Shakespeare was a Taurus.

What does a GEMINI write about? Geminis are versatile. It's a big leap from James Bond to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But Gemini Ian Flemming managed it.

Ruled by the Winged God Mercury, their restless mental agility gives them a multitude of options. From gossip columnist Elsa Maxwell to Metaphysician Alice Bailey. From the tragic diary of Anne Frank to 'The Happy Hooker' Xaviera Hollander. The list is endless: Beat Poet Allen Ginsberg; dramatic composer Richard Wagner; Arthur Conan Doyle; Bob Dylan. It seems significant that Gemini Thomas Mann wrote extensively of the duality of our existence – a fitting subject for the sign symbolised by the Twins.

Like the Moon ruled crustacean which carries its home on its back, CANCER the Crab may select themes dealing with everyday domestic issues, like cookery or child welfare or anecdotal episodes of family life. This interest may easily extend to a love of the Homeland. Stephen Foster produced more than 200 sentimental folk songs. Cancer is often fascinated by the past, writing historical novels or biographical accounts of famous people.

There is a potent nurturing quality associated with Cancer, accompanied by tremendous tenacity. When they discover a cause in which they believe, or have a message they feel impelled to deliver, there is no stopping them. Some notable Cancerians include Emmaline Pankhurst, suffragette; Psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross; Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, and Helen Keller who was deaf, dumb and blind. Writings of these women have influenced millions.

If dramatic LEO can't get on stage themselves, they might produce work which is eminently performable, such as scripts for TV or theatre. Leos usually have a soft spot for children and may gravitate to adventure stories for the young. Entertainment and action characterise tales like 'The Count of Monte Cristo' and 'The Three Musketeers' by Alexander Dumas. Leos have a generous nature, and combined with their own natural leadership abilities they often get to the top of their field. As a result they might write books about 'How To Be A Roaring Success'. This way they could gain a little self-promotion while magnanimously sharing their techniques.

Painstaking VIRGO has the ability to impart useful information in a clear concise manner. Technical handbooks, non-fiction articles, health-related subjects or critical reviews may be their forte. Virgo's ingenious capacity to solve problems by meticulous attention to detail is consistently evident in the works of Agatha Christie. Another example is Dr Marie Montessori, the first woman to receive a Medical Degree in Italy, whose educational programmes for subnormal children received world recognition. Virgo has the deserved title of the Perfectionist. This quality was surely applicable to Johann Von Goethe who took 60 years to complete Faust!

Peace loving LIBRANS are artistic and attracted to aesthetically pleasing subjects. Some favour lyrical, romantic poetry. But they also concerned with the portrayal of human relationships. For almost 50 years Faith Baldwin maintained a prolific output of serials, articles, stories and film scripts. Librans like Katherine Mansfield often use the "slice of life" technique to achieve a perspective understanding of their characters. Librans seek harmony, and when John Lennon wrote the poignant "Imagine" it was undoubtedly his Libran Sun which was dreaming of world unity.

You won't find many SCORPIOS at social gatherings – unless they're standing up the back, checking everybody out. Usually they are too busy doing research for their next book or thesis. If it can be done, or if it has been done, Scorpios will dig until they get the answers. Ask Madame Curie, who received the Nobel Prize for both Chemistry and Physics. Or Kurt Vonnegut, master of Sci Fi. Scorpios are never superficial. Their penetrating approach is always characterised by a passionate intensity to uncover the secrets of the physical or the psychic world. The bizarre aspects of the human psyche were investigated by Robert Louis Stevenson in "The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr Hyde."

Fiery SAGITTARIANS seek to expand their horizons, either physically through travel or philosophically through extensive study of foreign cultures, customs or religions. Social Anthropologist, Dr Margaret Mead epitomised such unquenchable curiosity and boundless energy. Her writings became classic textbooks in their field. The outdoor life and courage pitted against adversity are favourite topics also. Joseph Conrad explored these themes. The visionary and prophetic qualities of the higher evolved Sagittarian are apparent in the mystical symbolism which characterises the work of English poet, engraver and painter William Blake. Sagittarians also have a lusty buoyant approach to life, producing humorists like Mark Twain and James Thurber.  And we mustn't forget the outrageous Bette Midler…the Divine Miss M, author of  'A View From A Broad'.

CAPRICORN has a conscientious approach to everything. People born under this sign are ambitious and capable of sustained effort. Every writer who wants to succeed should have a Capricorn influence in their Natal Chart. (It may be a prominently placed Saturn which rules Capricorn – see sample charts). Simone de Beauvoir who was involved in the Existentialist Movement explored moral responsibilities and values. Capricorn is concerned with structure and discipline, essential attributes for writers. Nobody could accuse Nostradamus, the French Astrologer and Physician, of being frivolous. Anyone who has read Kipling's "Gunga Din" should be able to recognise the strength and endurance associated with Capricorn.

Future-oriented AQUARIANS are the original thinkers of the Zodiac. Their humanitarian viewpoint and keen intellect may incline them towards social or political reform. As they promote their idealistic, innovative and radical concepts, they often fall foul of more conservative types (e.g. Germaine Greer).  When any Chart shows a strong emphasis on Aquarius (or its ruler Uranus) you can expect the unexpected. For instance, while leading a relatively uneventful life, studying law, Aquarian Jules Verne produced a startling series of adventure stories and amazingly prophetic science fiction. There are more Aquarians in the Hall of Fame than any other sign.


Germaine Greer, with her Sun and Ascendant in the radical sign of Aquarius, revolutionised the Women's Liberation Movement with the publication of "The Female Eunuch" which was translated into 12 languages. Her biting denouncement of the passive role imposed on women by a male-dominated society was one of the most controversial books of the 70's. The assertive Mars in Scorpio in the 10th house of public recognition compelled her to confront an issue which had previously represented the Status Quo.  Mercury in Capricorn gave her the educational background and concentrated organisational ability. Saturn is in the 3rd house of writing in the pioneering sign of Aries. Her Moon is conjunct the unconventional Uranus, showing the absolute refusal to conform to rigid patterns of behaviour.

With 5 planets in the sign of the Fish, Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a perfect example of the Archetypal PISCES. These are the dreamers, sensitive, vulnerable and, emotionally responsive. Their writing reflects themes of mystery, fantasy and sometimes the mystical aspects of religious experience. Their outpourings often seem to stem from subconscious inspiration. Edna St Vincent Millay was once referred to as "the Voice of the Human Spirit". However, if the subconscious is probed too deeply, the writings may take on a morbid preoccupation with the macabre. Although Edgar Allen Poe had his Sun in Capricorn, he had 4 planets in Pisces.

 (c) 1989 P. Radcliffe


Benet, W. R. 1973 The Readers Encyclopaedia. Book Club Associates. London
Rodden, L.M. 1980 American Book of Charts. Astro Computing Services.
Rodden. L.M. 1979 Profiles of Women. American Federation of Astrologers



Michael O'Leary – Astronomical Society of SA

(Investigator 8, 1989 September)

After a first reading of Peg Radcliffe's article, 'Astrology and the art of writing' I felt bewildered. I read it a second and a third time. It seems to me to be idiotic from the end of the first paragraph through to the finish. Nowhere, that I could see, is one glimmer of scientific reason allowed to creep in. Bold statements are made in every paragraph and just left hanging in the air without any logical support. One looks in vain for authentication of any kind.

Consider one sentence at the beginning. 'Most experts agree that a strongly placed Mercury is essential'. In what area is their expertise? Mercury orbits the sun at about 58 million kilometers. Its distance from the earth varies between 92 million and 208 million kilometers. Most of the time Mercury can not be seen from the earth as it is lost in the sun's glare. We can only see it near greatest elongation. When is it supposed to be strongly placed? When we can see it? Or when it is at its closest point to the earth when we cannot see it. Ms. Radcliffe does not explain. If the strongness is essential, why is it essential? Are we being unreasonable to expect that her article attempts some explanation of these things?

Consider another sentence a little further on:

'When both Mercury and the Moon are emphasised, it can indicate a link between the subconscious inspirations and the ability to bring them to the surface and express them with clarity'.
Peg's subconscious inspirations are not being expressed with much clarity in this sentence.

How does one emphasise Mercury and the Moon? Why not emphasise Jupiter, much larger than the Earth, Moon and Mercury together? Why not emphasise something much more significant like a globular cluster? Omega Centauri will do nicely. It is a million times larger than our whole solar system and it is high in our Australian skies, one would think in an ideal position to influence us all. The possibilities are endless with a thousand million stars up there in our galaxy alone. What about the space shuttle speeding around up there? Is it also messing up people's horoscopes? What about the stronger astrological influences on the astronauts?  Surely they must receive a huge blast of lunar influence when they actually go to the moon?  Astrologers are silent about these things.

But back to the article. We are informed that Casanova was an Aries writer. Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, 2/4/1725 to 4/6/1798, was talented in a few interesting areas as well as writing. He was an ecclesiastic, soldier, spy and a violinist of note. His only book, his autobiography, was popular on account of content as well as style. Ms. Radcliffe has him in Aries, whereas when the infant Casanova first saw the light of day it was emanating from a sun firmly in Pisces. Many astrologers make these astronomical errors (in both senses of the word) because they follow the dates and signs published in women's magazines. Almost invariably these place the sun and planets in the wrong constellations for the dates given.

I read the other day that the three essential ingredients for success in launching a new magazine for women are personalities, fashion and astrology. If this is true, it says a lot for the intelligence-level some publishers ascribe to Australian women.

Astrology is an ancient superstition, followed with varying degrees of dedication by thousands of people in this country and millions around the world. Many of these feel it is amusing and harmless so why criticize it, why bother? Amusing it may be, but harmless it is not. Ignore for the moment all the people who part with their money to people who profess to be able to read character traits or foretell the future. There is, I believe, something else even more important we should care deeply about. Truth. Truth matters. If we know something is a falsehood, a fantasy, surely it is morally wrong to promote it as a truth for young or poorly educated people to hang their hopes on.

Astrology is pure idiocy, obvious to anyone with even a little knowledge of Astronomy as an absurdity. If you believe in just one absurdity your defenses are lowered to all the others. Ask any person who believes in astrology, do they believe in numerology. They will often say,  'there may be something in it'. Then try palmistry, tarot cards, ouija boards, tea leaf reading, clairvoyance or I Ching. The answer will most often be the same.

They cannot afford to deny anyone else their belief, however irrational it may seem to them, while they themselves cling to a belief in the most ridiculous of them all.

If you are prepared to believe absolutely anything people serve up to you without question, or perhaps on the grounds (A) Millions of people believe in it so there must be something in it; or, (B) Scientists don't know everything you know;  then surely your reason has flown right out of the window. Where is your capacity to analyse to think for yourself, to sift the facts, weigh the probabilities?

Rational people must take a stand somewhere or we may all be on the road to Jonestown.

The next time a lady at a party asks you your birth sign, strike a blow for rationality. Tell her to grow up, even if it is your hostess or the wife of a former president of the United States.

The truth about the paranormal (including astrology) on this website!